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Building for Pictures: A Photography Gallery and Framework for Cultural Expansion

Part 2 Project 2006
Viktor Jak
London Metropolitan University | UK
A much-needed Cultural Framework could raise the ambition for a cultural expansion and give enough gravitas for a third node to emerge in central Prague.

The framework favours timber as a sustainable construction material, both for traditional city block architecture as well as the three investigational tall public buildings.

The 36-meter tall gallery building of engineered timber allows the public life of the street to enter into the building. Side lit galleries offer a range of scales and grain of exhibition space and servicing.

Finally, timber as a properly urban façade material in terms of scale and decorum is investigated.

Viktor Jak

This proposition tackles the last undeveloped site at the edge of the UNESCO protected centre of Prague. An urban framework is proposed to address issues of density, infrastructure and public space. At the heart of this framework is a design for a Building of Pictures – a major gallery of contemporary photography – that seeks to re-assert Prague’s status as a major cultural centre in Europe and celebrate photography as a major art form.

The scheme proposes a gradation of spaces from the city to the room, from the relative anarchy of the street to more well-tempered settings. This is addressed both environmentally and in terms of occupation. Aligned with this thinking is a material strategy that progresses from the crude to the refined. Engineered timber is employed to make both a massive ribbed vertical structure and the floor plates that tie it together. Rooms are exquisitely lined with softwood planks of varying widths and finish.

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